BANNER NEWS: Ilocano cop slain in Mamasapano encounter honored

LAOAG CITY – A memorial mass and wreath-laying ceremony was held today in honor of an Ilocano police officer who was one of the 44 police commandos slain in an encounter with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in Mamasapano, Maguindanao on January 25.

Held at the provincial capitol at 8:00 a.m., the mass was attended by Governor Imee Marcos, Muslim leaders, police officers, provincial and municipal officials and employees to pay tribute and recognition to Police Officer 2 Omar A. Nacionales, a native of Barangay Escoda, Marcos, Ilocos Norte, one of the Special Action Force commandos killed during an encounter with the MILF in Mamasapano, Maguindanao,

Earlier, Marcos expressed her sympathy to the bereaved family of Nacionales.

The provincial government and the PNP led by Provincial Director Sterling Blanco have given the family financial assistance.

“As a mother of three young men, the same age of our dearly departed Omar, I cannot imagine the tragedy and sadness that you now undergo. It is beyond us the grief that you feel and yet we lend you our very best prayers.

“Inaasahan ko na kung hindi man all-out peace ang makamtan ng ating kapulisan at kasundaluhan, all-out justice man lang para sa ating kailian na si Omar Nacionales. Importante na matugis kung sino ang gumawa ng karumal-dumal na krimeng ito, kung sino man ang nag-order at nagpakana ng walang kakuwenta-kuwentang planong nauwi sa trahedya at massacre,” the governor said.

Marcos also expressed her desire for a leadership and unity which the police and military forces deserve for their exceptional skills and bravery.

“We pray also for our police forces and for all those who defend the peace and security of our country that they may one day have the leadership that they deserve as they continue to lay down their lives and sacrifice their families, everything, unto death, for the good of this republic, and for every citizen of the country,” Marcos said.

“With you we mourn today, we are hopeful that this death will not come to naught and that the greatest dreams of Omar and his comrades will come to a fruition for peace in Mindanao, but first of all, justice for every single one of the PNP SAF who were murdered and slaughtered in the fields of Maguindanao,” she stressed.

Meanwhile, Nacionales’ wife, PO2 Gae Ann Guiniling said that although her husband was a strict person, he was kind, caring and responsible.

She said it is a very difficult time for their family as she hadn’t recovered yet with the loss of their twins in July last year.

“I still have no plans, I don’t know how to start but I need to…I need to go on with my duty,” she said in Ilocano.

Nana Florencia, Nacionales’ mother, said that they are at a loss with the death of their son as he was the hope of their family.

“After entering the service, Omar vowed to support the education of his siblings,” she said.

After the memorial mass, the family headed to Luna, La Union, Nacionales’ widow’s hometown, where Omar’s remains will be laid to rest. (With report from Jennifer T. Pambid, PGIN-CMO)